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E3 2011: Ben 10 Galactic Racing hands-on

E3 2011

A few generations ago, almost every franchise seemed to have a cart racing entry. But these days, cart racers aren’t nearly as dime a dozen as they used to be. We of course have Mario and Sonic’s racers, but beyond that, the offerings are pretty scant and of questionable quality. But maybe that is changed. We had a chance to sit down for a hands-on preview of the upcoming Ben 10 themed cart racer, Ben 10 Galactic Racing. If our time with two tracks and characters are an indication of what the rest of the title holds, it seems like the game will be worth a look for genre fans.

Releasing for the major consoles as well as the DS and 3DS, this is the sixth Ben 10 release. Based on the Ben 10: Ultimate Alien television program, this title represents the first cart racer for the series and typical for the genre, features many characters from the popular animated series, including Ben Tennyson, Kevin, Heatblast and Rath. The game also introduces a brand new character to the series, Fasttrack, who as his name implies brings speed to the party. The premise is simple: every 1,000 years, a competition is held, and Ben and his friends are invited to compete.

I first selected the new character, Fasttrack, as we took on the level on display. The track, Garbage Gauntlet, was very diverse. The race started off down a fairly wide, easy corridor, but as soon as I drifted around the first corner, I could tell that this wouldn’t be a cakewalk. Around the corner, a waterfall of some unidentifiable slippery substance poured over the edge of the track, taking my cart with it as punishment for sticking too close to the inside corner. As I built up speed, I narrowly made it through a shortcut before one of the other racers could successfully block the path (performed by driving over a specific icon).

Upon landing safely on the other side, I hit another jump and held the right analog stick to perform a trick. You’re actually supposed to tap it, so I ended up holding the trick for too long and crashing, again. Performing tricks in the game builds up an offensive meter represented along the bumper of your car (similar to the HUD in last year’s gem Split/Second). Once a player fills up the meter, their character changes form and performs a much more powerful attack that eliminates multiple foes in front of you. This works in conjunction with the typical power-ups that are found on the map, using familiar attacks themed around the Ben 10 universe. Successful drifting builds up a defensive meter which allows the player to put up a shield to prevent incoming attacks.

The license seems to work well for a cart racer. On my next turn through, I went head-to-head with another journalist. This time, I picked the much heavier Roth, who plays a bit like Bowser from Mario Kart. Each character has heavy and light cart varieties which have their own attributes. I picked his heavier cart. While I was next to impossible to remove from the track, I also came in dead last. Roth demanded more familiarity with the game than I had developed by that time, as any accident basically meant a loss. This should add some depth and replay value to the game, as will 4-player splitscreen.

Ben 10 Galactic Racing is set for a fall release and seems to be in good shape so far. I won’t say that it’s a very revolutionary racer, but the track diversity, more than a dozen powerups, 15 different characters, 25 tracks, and 30 karts suggest that there should be enough content here to appeal to both cart racing and Ben 10 fans. The DS release will also include an additional character for fans to master. Even if you know nothing of the Ben 10 universe, this is an easy game to jump into.

We apologize, but screenshots are unavailable for this title at the this time.

The author of this fine article

is an Associate Editor at Thunderbolt, having joined in February 2003.

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